An independent evaluation of the world's first town-sized Digital Deposit Return Scheme (DDRS) trial undertaken in Brecon in 2023.

The report summarises the findings of the quantitative and qualitative research carried out and identified areas for further research.


A Scan Reward Recycle collection point outside a high street shop

Welsh Government is aiming to introduce a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS), as outlined in Wales’ ’Beyond Recycling Strategy’. A DRS encourages consumers to recycle an item by charging a deposit at the point of purchase. This deposit is refunded when the item is returned for recycling. The scheme aims to reduce littering, boost recycling rates and improve the quality of the material collected for recycling. The introduction of a DRS also aims to encourage further development of reuse and refill systems.

Traditional DRS systems typically rely on a return-to-retailer model and the use of fixed reverse vending machines (RVMs) to automate the process. A digital DRS (DDRS) system uses product digitalisation to allow a wider product scope and compatibility with any collection infrastructure and processes that incorporate digital technology and connectivity to facilitate the return of containers.

The Brecon Scan|Recycle|Reward trial was set up to better understand the implications of implementing and operating a DDRS scheme in Wales, including testing return options, how the approach could be integrated into existing kerbside recycling services, and to test the experience of householders using the technology.

Recycling bins with QR codes as part of the Buxton DDRS trial

Welsh Government commissioned WRAP to carry out an independent evaluation of the trial, including quantitative and qualitative research, to gain insight into the public’s preferred choices for returning drink containers to claim rewards, when offered a range of return point options.

Over the course of the Scan|Recycle|Reward trial, 18,794 rewards were claimed. Results indicated kerbside return as the most popular and convenient method, chosen for 58% of returns, with 97.6% compliance observed. Qualitative research highlighted community acceptance of DDRS, with residents expressing willingness to adopt technology for recycling, contingent on reliability and support availability.

Further research aims to explore scalability, optimise labelling, and assess feasibility in less compliant areas. 

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  • Digital Deposit Return Scheme (DDRS) trial in Brecon

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  • Treial Cynllun Dychwelyd Ernes Digidol (DDRS) yn Aberhonddu

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